The new gesture is meant to reduce a wearer’s dependence on using the phone to use the smartwatch.
When the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 wearable technology devices were launched in September, one of the most interesting features they were designed to provide was not yet available.
The newest Apple Watch models have now received the double tap gesture in the watchOS 10.1 update.
The latest wearable technology update for the smartwatches provides a new way for wearers to interact with their devices without having to use the touchscreen itself. Instead, all they need to do is gesture with a rapid pinching motion. This allows the user to scroll through the new widget stack in watchOS 10. It also works to skip music tracks, end or pause timers that are running, or even answer phone calls.
Though this feature might not sound like much, it can make the device much more convenient for people to use when they are trying to interact with their smartwatches with their hands full, such as if an important call comes in while trying to cook or unload shoppingg bags from a car. This type of scenario can be quite common throughout the day.
The double tap feature involves the installation of a new wearable technology chip.
The double tap feature technically isn’t brand new to Apple smartwatches. A couple of years ago, the company introduced an accessibility feature called Assistive Touch, designed for people with mobility issues or who have limb differences. The thought behind the feature was to provide them with an alternative method of using an Apple Watch to navigate menus and control the wearable technology without the need for another hand.
While double tap can seem as though it is simply replicating Assistive Touch, it does differ in some meaningful ways. These ways require the more powerful chip in the latest Apple Watches. This helps to explain why the update wasn’t installed into earlier smartwatch models.
“Because we’re on a purpose-built part of the processor, we’re not contending with all the other things the CPU is doing at any given time,” explained Apple Watch software engineering senior director David Clark when discussing the wearable technology feature.